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Speaking of “Smokey and the Bandit” failing at RCMH after being a blockbuster in other parts of the country, I recall being surprised to find that some (many?) John Wayne movies opened later in Manhattan than in other parts of the country. It was as if they avoided New York reviews on the assumption, probably based on a lot of precedent, that they’d be less favorable in NYC than anywhere else. Wayne was huge almost everywhere. I gather that was relatively less true in NYC. And how weird that “The Cowboys,” of all Wayne movies, should get a RCMH booking. It was, I think, easily the most mean-spirited movie in which he had participated and the only one I outright dislike. – Ed Blank
Thank you very much for that list, Al Alvarez. Things sure did change at RCMH in the 1970s, didn’t they? In earlier decades, many of those movies would have premiered at the neighborhoods on double bills. — Ed Blank
Great illustrations, Warren. Just to see the interior brings back vivid memories. On a 1973 visit to Little Carnegie, I caught a small film called “I Love You, Rosa” at a crowded weekend performance and sitting close to the right front exit gawking at wall ornament looming over the exit. At the time I saw “Faces” there, I remember reading a John Cassavetes interview in which he said he wanted to book his pride and joy there because he had worked in Little Carnegie many years earlier. – Ed Blank
These Cinema Treasures blogs really are a treasure. It is with no lack of gratitude that I concur with those who say it would be wonderful if we could access each theater’s blog under any and all of the theater’s identities. Very often I cannot remember what a theater was called in its final years. I had forgotten, for example, that the Trans-Lux East was called the Gotham at the tail end. Sure wish it were possible to cross-reference them so that a blog would pop up under any of the (correct) IDs we type in. But thank you, one and all, for what we have. – Ed Blank
Hi, Al, I had found, and did print out, that entry in addition to yours. Thanks for making sure I saw it. Still need to fill in 1975-79 when the programming became more irregular, I guess. I’ve enjoyed immensely going over the lists and noting precisely how many movies I saw at RCMH. Have been looking up every one of the dozens of Manhattan moviehouses I frequented in visits from 1955, starting with “Mr. Roberts” at RCMH, through the spring of 2006. I loved and miss much the era when Manhattan was loaded with classic rep houses. I appreciate the hundreds of great blog notes by you and Warren and many others and love hearing about the double bills people saw at various sites. – Ed Blank
AlAlvarez, Were you ever able to compile a list of RCMH movies and their opening dates from “Scrooge” through “The Promise” in 1979? – Ed Blank
Attended St. Marks only once, in the 1970s, for a sensational double bill of “The Last of Sheila” and “Strangers on a Train.” – Ed Blank
As a visitor to New York, I saw a few movies at the Victoria. The last time I was in there, seeing a blaxploitation film whose name I cannot call to mind at the moment, I spotted a rodent — never a good sign for a theater that hopes to maintain an audience. Not long afterward, the Victoria was history. Other theaters where rodents were visible – the Criterion in its dilapidated final years and the Embassy 2-3-4, which was a nest of rodents by then. I spoke with the ticket taker who explained that it was the reason cats roamed freely in the theater. I also coped with cats, but never actually spotted a rodent, at the Elgin Theater (now the Joyce) when it was still playing double bills of revivals such as “Lady From Shanghai.”
Someone named AlAlvarez did a terrific job of posting all regular engagement RCMH movies from “The Bitter Tea of General Yen” through “Scrooge” at the end of 1970. Did he or anyone else ever post a listing of all movies from “Scrooge” through “The Promise” in the spring of 1979? Thank you. – Ed Blank, retired film critic in Pittsburgh
The Schenley opened either Oct. 21, 1914, or Aug. 30, 1924. A trade story indicated the original capacity at 2100. It was located at 3960 Forbes Avenue and was the largest theater in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. It was razed around the late 1950s. On the site is the University of Pittsburgh’s Hillman Library. — Ed Blank
The Melrose is now the Melrose Medical Center.
The Enright was not on Liberty Avenue. It was at 5820 (or 5806) Penn Avenue in East Liberty. After sporadic closings in the 1950s, it closed permanently June 8, 1958.
It was an exceptionally large neighborhood theater with 3200-3300 seats.
— Ed Blank (